Question: Hey, Rodney. I'm really enjoying State of Wonder: Awakening to Presence. I bought a copy for myself and another for my girlfriend, so that we each could have individual books!
Rodney: Wow, thanks!
Q: We both want an end to seeking, and we really resonate with your books and blog.
Rodney: I am happy to hear that. Both of you appear to have two highly commendable qualities: Earnestness and being strongly drawn to a credible teacher's words and manner of pointing. I hesitate to say "teacher" because I am more of a writer than speaker (though speaking about this comes very easily.) And I don't travel very much because I neither enjoy it nor can I afford it. So that works out!
Q: Well, we would love to have you here in [names a U.S. city in the New England area]. We have a large house; so you could stay with us, and we could hold the talks in the living room. We are also friends with about a half-dozen serious spiritual seekers that I'm sure would want to attend. We also know how much you love cold and snow, so we maybe we could schedule something for next winter.
Rodney: Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
Q: Great!...And speaking of enlightenment—
Rodney: Your term, not mine.
Q: Yes, but you seem to point to the possibility of it happening instantly more than other teachers. I believe you had another reader to point this out also.
Rodney: Self-realization is always in an instant or sudden—or rather, there is a soft suddenness to the understanding. And though it appears in time, it is timeless nonetheless. But remember, if you have the idea of being "unliberated" or "unenlightened," you are bound by that notion, by that particular illusion. Your belief essentially stops you from seeing what is unconditionally present, right here and now.
Q: And that belief is so strong!
Rodney: But it is just belief. That is all. It has nothing whatsoever to do with your actually being awareness itself. Also, a thought or idea is just a fleeting appearance in awareness. So don't sell yourself short. That belief can be gone in an inkling with just a bit of careful investigation and seeing. When no self-identication is there, what is present—what is still remaining? Awareness itself. It is never not present, of course; it is merely being overlooked. That is a key point of which to be mindful. But you are already ahead of most seekers because you are not attempting to "attain" this understanding through any path, method, or practice.
Q: Nope, we have done all of that.
Rodney: Terrific. So you are beginning to discern the logistics of the matter: That if a mistaken idea or conviction is the only thing keeping you from self-realization, how is any meditation or activity going to help you? You are squarely in depths of the most magnificent of oceans, and yet, you are begging to see water. I could easily say, "Choose any direction!" And I would be right. But you see, you do not even have to do that—to position yourself in any particular way. And neither do you have to get into a specific asana or make any preparatory gestures. All that is necessary is to simply perceive that not only are you already in the ocean, but that you are the very sea itself.
Q: I just want to go off somewhere quiet and really ponder that.
Rodney: And you can, if you feel a clear and natural urge to do so. Or you can see that truth of those words at this very moment. Any notions of your having to do something at a later time gives credence to the conviction that self-knowing is time-dependent. So, try shifting your view from "I am not awakened" to "I am not my body or my mind. I am awareness itself. What is it that I am not seeing?" Those are still thoughts, of course. But see if you can see and feel the stillness to which they are pointing. I am not saluting my own words here; I'm merely reframing questions and issues that has been raised (however differently) by nondual sages throughout the centuries.
Q: So just let the answers reveal themselves?
Rodney: Well, you aren't being indifferent. This is, after all, self-inquiry. But there is only one answer—and you are it. What you are at this moment is the solution to all of this. Awareness is fully and unequivocally present, and you are that awareness. Merely see that this is the case. What is it that is being disregarded? What is it—right here and now—that is closer than your very own breathing, and yet, is not being recognized? It is not your body or your thoughts or your personality or your changing states of consciousness. So what does that leave you with? These questions are not meant to frustrate you, but rather, to foster your own inherent earnestness.
Q: Tons of thanks, Rodney. My girlfriend wants to hug you so much, by the way...Hmm, I don't know about that. :)
Rodney: No worries. I'm ancient.
Check out Rodney on YouTube talking about "The Fundamental Thing."